If you think about it, the news that Mark Zuckerburg is looking at cryptocurrency with a view to decentralising Facebook should come as no surprise. In fact, he seems to have been rather slow at getting ahead of the blockchain curve, but he may have been taking a ‘wait and see’ approach up until the end of 2017. By that time, he really couldn’t escape the growing momentum around the blockchain in the mainstream media, of which Facebook is now a part. And, with such a massive global network that is also one of the prime platforms for ICO announcements, there is something of the ‘no brainer’ about Zuckerburg’s announcement.
He said on 4th January 2018 that he “plans to study cryptocurrencies and other decentralizing technologies as part of a larger bid to improve the social networking service he co-founded.” In fact, he called it a “personal challenge” to understand all aspects of cryptocurrency and encryption. He also, rather ambitiously, plans to “fix important issues” in the media, technology and government, and is bringing together a group of experts to help him.
Naturally, the moment his announcement about his interest in cryptocurrencies and decentralisation, there was a buzz in the blockchain community that spread faster than wildfire, such is the impact of the social media mogul. He also said that cryptocurrencies were one of the most interesting questions in technology today and appeared to lament the fact that many had lost faith in “technology as a decentralising force.”
He added: “There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands…I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
It will be interesting to see how long it is before he makes some further announcements about the blockchain. He can call on the best advisors anywhere in the world, and it seems unimaginable that he will ponder on it for any great length of time before taking some kind of action. He will surely want to leverage some ‘first mover’ advantage for his social media empire. And, as we have seen before; where Zuckerburg goes, plenty will follow.